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2018-19 UEFA Nations League Betting
The first-ever UEFA Nations League tournament kicked off shortly after the 2018 World Cup. The UEFA Nations League was set up to replace a few dates on the international friendlies calendar with a centralized competition. The goal of the tournament is twofold. It was designed to give countries more chances to play teams similar in caliber to their own, and it will give countries lower on the totem pole a financial boon since the television contracts for this event are centralized.
2018-19 UEFA Nations League A
The top teams in each of the four groups in League A are playing in the UEFA Nations League Finals in early June. Either the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, or England will have the honor of being the first UEFA Nations League champion, and Portugal is the favorite as the host of the competition.
The teams that finished in second place in their groups will remain in League A, but the last-place teams in each group have been relegated to League B. It’s not a big shock to see Poland and Iceland down there, but Germany and Croatia must feel hard done. They both were placed in extremely difficult groups and now must play in League B during the 2020-21 campaign.
2018-19 UEFA Nations League B
||Bosnia and Herzegovina
||Republic of Ireland
Bosnia and Herzegovina are a surprising entrant into League A. They made the most of being placed into a relatively weak group, while Northern Ireland’s turnaround story ran came to a dead stop as the country lost all four of its games in qualifying.
Sweden managed to nip Russia for qualification despite losing at home to Turkey in Group 2, and the Swedes young roster will greatly benefit from additional experience against top tier teams in League A next year. Elsewhere, all the teams in Group A finished dead even on goal differential, but Ukraine’s three one-goal victories punched their ticket to League A, while Denmark beat Wales in both of their meetings to advance to League A out of Group D.
2018-19 UEFA Nations League C
Since there was an uneven number of teams in League C, the relegation for this cluster of teams worked differently. The last-place teams in Groups 2-4 were automatically relegated to League D, but the final team relegated was determined by which third-place team had the worst record. That turned out to be Cyprus, which had a worse goal differential than Montenegro by one goal.
Serbia was the most impressive team in League C during qualifying. They failed to lose a match, and they didn’t allow a goal away from home throughout their group games. Norway and Scotland proved to be impressive, but the biggest surprise was Finland. The Finns surprisingly one-upped Hungary and Greece to make it to League B even though the other two countries have much more of a soccer pedigree.
2018-19 UEFA Nations League D
The good news for the teams in League D is that there is no lower league to be relegated to for the last-place teams. This league played pretty much as you’d expect with the bigger nations in each group smashing the smaller nations. Teams like Andorra, San Marino, Malta, Liechtenstein, and Gibraltar couldn’t put up much of a fight, but Luxembourg’s success was somewhat surprising. Luxembourg was able to beat Moldova and San Marino by a combined score of 7-0 at home. They may be able to make it to League C the next time around, and that would be a nice feel-good story.
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